Ombudsman designate says he will work to improve ‘relationship’ with HSE
Fresh start necessary, says Tyndall
Charlie Flanagan TD: raised concerns about how ombudsman is selected
The man nominated to become the next Ombudsman and Information Commissioner has said he would move to improve what has become an “entrenched relationship” with the HSE if approved for the position.
In his first appearance in front of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions yesterday, Peter Tyndall said the relationship with the HSE was “an area of particular concern”.
“A new incumbent in the post does mark a fresh start and it should be possible to start to rebuild that relationship so it’s more constructive,” he said.
Mr Tyndall, who is Dublin-born and who acted as Public Services Ombudsman in Wales for the past five years, was nominated by the Government for the role of ombudsman earlier this month. His appointment has yet to be confirmed by a resolution of the Dáil and Seanad.
Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan raised concerns about how the ombudsman is selected in Ireland, adding that, unlike in Wales, the committee is not the recruiting body for the position, and that the ombudsman-designate was instead presented to them “as somewhat of a fait accompli”.
Responding to Mr Flanagan’s remarks, Mr Tyndall noted that this was the first time that the committee has had the opportunity to speak to a candidate for the office and that this was a “step forward”.
“I also note that the new Ombudsman and Information Commissioner will have to be elected by both Houses of the Oireachtas and appointed by the President and in that sense, and the ongoing relationship with this committee, does mark an evolution,” he said.
Mr Tyndall said he welcomed the extension of the proposed Freedom of Information legislation to financial institutions. He also paid tribute to his predecessor, Emily O’Reilly, and said the office of the Ombudsman in Ireland had a very strong international reputation, adding that the next ombudsman had a “tremendous platform to deliver an even better service into the future”.